Pregnancy and Oral health
Pregnancy affects nearly every aspect of a woman’s life, including her oral health. You may think of your oral health as just one more thing to worry about, but taking care of your mouth and teeth is important during pregnancy.
Before you get pregnant
Make a dental appointment before getting pregnant (if possible). In this way, your teeth can be professionally cleaned, your gum tissue can be carefully examined, and any oral health problems identified can be treated in advance of your pregnancy.
While you are pregnant
Tell your dentist (and doctor) if you know you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant. This will help your health care providers plan for any treatments or procedures. It’s always best to complete any major dental treatment prior to pregnancy. Routine dental care, on the other hand, can be received during the second trimester. As a precautionary measure, dental treatments during the first trimester and second half of the third trimester should be avoided as much as possible. These are critical times in the baby’s growth and development, and it’s simply wise to avoid exposing the mother to procedures that could in any way “influence” the baby’s growth and development. All elective dental procedures should be postponed until after the delivery. If morning sickness is keeping you from brushing your teeth, change to a bland-tasting toothpaste during your pregnancy. Ask your dentist or hygienist to recommend brands.
X-rays While Pregnant
X-rays should not be taken while pregnant, unless absolutely necessary. Such a necessity may include a dental emergency where finding the source of the problem (e.g. a dental infection) is very important. Here an x-ray is needed as the risks of not finding the problem outweigh the minimal risks of taking an X-ray.
Your dentist will protect the baby with a lead apron and only take the smallest number of X-rays needed.
Don’t skip your dental checkup appointment simply because you are pregnant and believe this appointment is not important. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal exams are very important. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily — a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
Emergency dental work
During pregnancy can be done only with the guidance from your dentist. Most of the dental work can be avoided until the delivery. Pregnant women should be very careful while using any products or any medications.
What are the dental work that need to be avoided during pregnancy?
Pregnant women, especially during their early stages of pregnancy should avoid some of the effective dental treatment.
These include whitening of the teeth, bonding and routine dental X-rays.
How does my oral health affect my baby’s health?
New research suggests a possible link between gum disease and pre-term, low-birth weight babies. Excessive bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums. If this happens, the bacteria can travel to the uterus, triggering the production of chemicals called prostaglandins, which are suspected to induce premature labor. Though findings are inconclusive and further research is needed, we do know preventive dental care during pregnancy improves oral health and overall health and is safe for both mother and child.
Medications while pregnant/ breastfeeding
If you have dental treatment during your pregnancy your dentist may prescribe medicine to make you more comfortable. Be sure to tell your dentist about any prescriptions or over the counter drug you are taking. This will help the doctor determine what type of drug, if any, will be prescribed for you.
Tell Your Dentist
- If you have high risk pregnancy
- The month of pregnancy you are in
- If you are taking medications
- Any changes in oral health (swelling, redness, bleeding, sores or inflammation of the mouth)
- If you notice loose teeth